The Imaging Studies of Pathogens & Cell Interactions Core Facility works on studying and visualizing HIV entry into target cells and its inhibition. The rates and kinetics of HIV inhibition will be evaluated using a new class of entry inhibitors: Allosteric, noncompetitive CCR5 antagonists and CCR5 antibodies. Currently, the lab is focusing on the activity and mechanism of action of CCR5 antagonist sensitive versus resistant viruses using Confocal imaging techniques combined with Beta-lactamase entry assay.
Identifying the most effective inhibitors with the lowest possible side effects could have relevant clinical implications in both anti-viral therapy and vaccine development. In addition, visualizing of virus fusion at the level of individual particles should lead to a better understanding of the mechanisms of virus entry and open new opportunities for therapeutic intervention.
The Confocal Lab is open and available for collaborative work to integrate our common research goals into the overarching theme of the mission of the Institute of Human Virology.
The IHV has recently obtained a state of the art super resolution microscope (Nikon N-STORM) that can exceed image resolutions of 20 nm in the x-y plane, and 50 nm in the z-axis plane. Achieving a resolution 10 times greater than a conventional optical microscope, the system will make it possible to visualize protein-protein interactions at the sub-cellular and molecular levels. This is particularly important with respect to pathogen-host cell interactions.